Governor Matt Blunt vows to solve the state’s budget problems by making cuts, not raising taxes and suggests significant changes to the way the state funds public schools as he delivers his first State of the State Sddress to a joint session of the Legislature. Governor Blunt calls on the General Assembly to fix the school funding formula this year. He wants gambling money distributed to schools on a per pupil basis and wants to allow local districts to shuck the property tax in favor of sales or income taxes. Blunt is pushing a pro-business agenda. And he plans to help that by tightening workers compensation rules, reining in big civil lawsuit judgments, fully funding the bio-diesel and ethanol incentive funds and by expanding the Transportation Commission to include positions supportive of air, mass transit, freight and barge traffic. His budget cuts Medicaid and the state workforce, while increasing school funding. The top Democrat in the Senate, Maida Coleman, listened politely, but was less than impressed. Now, the real work of the session begins.
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